How to Blind Bake Pie Crust

How to blind bake pie crust on sallysbakingaddiction.com

I’m sharing a new recipe for lemon meringue pie this week (pictured below!). But before we get there, let me teach you how to blind bake pie crust. Blind baking is an integral step in many pie recipes and a basic technique to have in your back pocket. Which is why I’m filling this post under my Baking Basics section.

Blind baking, or pre-baking, does not mean that you’re baking with a blindfold on. Rather, it’s baking pie crust without a filling. Your eyes are open the whole time. 😉

Blind baking sounds pretty intimidating, especially if you’re already nervous about making pie. I’m here to tell you (and show you!) that blind baking pie crust is simple, but there’s a few tips to help guarantee success.

Lemon meringue pie on sallysbakingaddiction.com

WHY BLIND BAKE

Why would you bake pie crust without a filling? There are a few instances, actually. When you’re making quiche, no-bake pie, custard pie, pumpkin pie, cream pie, pudding pie, or simply want an extra crisp pie crust.

FULL BLIND BAKE / PARTIAL BLIND BAKE

If your pie recipe calls for a baked pie shell, you want to fully bake it. And I teach you how in this blog post. But some recipes require a partially baked pie crust and those recipes will typically include “pre-baking” or “partially baking” the crust in the instructions. I teach you how to do that too. Whether you’re fully blind baking or partially blind baking pie crust, the process is exactly the same; it’s the bake time that differs.

  1. Fully blind bake a pie crust if you’re making no-bake pie. We obviously don’t want to eat unbaked pie dough.
  2. Partially blind bake a pie crust if your pie filling requires a shorter bake time than the pie crust. And if you want an extra crisp pie crust for your apple pie– you can partially blind bake the crust before adding the filling.

HOW TO BLIND BAKE

While the process is quite simple, there’s more to it than just throwing pie dough in a pie dish and baking.

Here’s our problem: As the pie dough bakes, the fat melts. This causes the pie crust to shrink down the sides of the pie dish. And as the fat melts, it creates steam. Steam is both good and bad. It creates DELICIOUS layers and flakes, but also causes the pie dough to puff up when there’s no heavy filling weighing it down.

Here’s our answer: weigh down the pie crust with something so it doesn’t puff up in the center or shrink down the sides. Carefully line the pie dough with parchment paper first, then add some weight. You can purchase special pie weights or you can use dry beans. I’ve also seen the use of granulated sugar and even pennies. I just stick to pie weights. Note: 2 packs of these pie weights is definitely needed!

How to blind bake pie crust on sallysbakingaddiction.com

DOCKING THE PIE CRUST

Since it’s covered with weights, the bottom of the pie crust doesn’t really cook. That’s an easy fix. Once the crust is brown around the edges, carefully remove the parchment paper + weights, then let the crust cook a little longer on its own. I always worry that the bottom of the crust will puff up, so I use a fork to prick holes in it. This allows steam to escape and prevents lots of puff. Pricking holes in pie crust is also called “docking” the pie crust.

Some bakers simply dock the pie crust instead of using pie weights. I never have luck this way! The sides of my pie crust still shrink down. So I always use pie weights, remove them after the edges turn brown, dock the crust with a fork, then return it to the oven so the bottom cooks. The remaining oven time depends on whether you want a partially blind baked pie crust or a fully blind baked pie crust.

How to blind bake pie crust on sallysbakingaddiction.com

NO MORE SHRINKING CRUSTS!

Pie weights prevent the bottom crust from puffing up and help prevent the sides from shrinking down, but up until recently, I still had trouble with the sides losing shape. It was so frustrating. I played around with some techniques and now my pie crusts never shrink. I have a nice thick crust with a beautifully fluted shape around the pie dish. And you can too!

THESE 2 TRICKS SOLVED EVERYTHING

  1. Make sure you chill your pie shell before blind baking.
  2. Make sure you have a thick crust on the sides using my “dough strip” technique.

Chilling the pie shell before blind baking doesn’t need much explanation, so let me show you how I create thick edges. You can watch me do this in the video below too!

DOUGH STRIP TECHNIQUE

Roll out your pie dough and fill your pie dish. Grab some extra pie dough, cut into strips, and meld the strips around the edges.

How to blind bake pie crust on sallysbakingaddiction.com

How to blind bake pie crust on sallysbakingaddiction.com

How to blind bake pie crust on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Use your fingers to work the extra strips of dough into the edges.

How to blind bake pie crust on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Now it’s all 1 uniform crust with extra thick and sturdy edges. My dough strip technique uses about 1 and 1/2 pie crusts. No big deal since my pie crust recipe makes 2 crusts. You’ll have 1/2 pie crust leftover for the next time you need dough scraps!

That was a lot of information thrown at you, but I promise it’s manageable. In fact, let me SHOW YOU how manageable. Watch me roll out the pie dough, fill the pie dish, use my dough strip technique, and complete the whole blind baking process in this video.

Now go blind bake like a boss!!

How to Blind Bake Pie Crust

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. Make the pie dough: Prepare my pie crust recipe through step 5.
  2. Watch the video above to see how I work through each of the following steps.
  3. Roll out the chilled pie dough: On a floured work surface, roll out one of the disks of chilled dough (keep the other one in the refrigerator). Turn the dough about a quarter turn after every few rolls until you have a circle 12 inches in diameter. Carefully place the dough into a 9-inch pie dish. Tuck it in with your fingers, making sure it is completely smooth.
  4. Dough strip technique: This step is optional, but will help prevent the sides from shrinking down as well as promise a thick and sturdy crust. Remove the 2nd pie dough disk from the refrigerator. Roll out the same way you rolled out the first one. Using a pizza cutter, slice rounded 1 or 2 inch strips, and arrange around the edges. Use your fingers to meld both crusts together. What you're basically doing here is adding another layer of crust to just the edges. Flute the edges. They should be nice and thick now! Wrap any leftover pie crust back up to use for next time. Freeze it for up to 3 months.
  5. Refrigerate or freeze: Chill the pie crust in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes and up to 5 days. Or freeze for up to 3 months. Cover the pie crust with plastic wrap if chilling for longer than 30 minutes or if you're freezing it. If you freeze it, let it thaw for a couple hours in the refrigerator before continuing.
  6. While the crust is chilling, preheat oven to 400°F (204°C).
  7. Fill with weights: Line the chilled pie crust with parchment paper or aluminum foil. (Crunch up the parchment paper first so that you can easily shape it into the crust.) Fill with pie weights or dried beans. Make sure the weights are evenly distributed around the pie dish.
  8. Bake: Bake until the edges of the crust are starting to brown, about 15-16 minutes. Remove pie from the oven and carefully lift the parchment paper/aluminum foil (with the weights) out of the pie. Prick holes all around the bottom crust with a fork. Return the pie crust to the oven.
  9. If you're making a no-bake pie like banana cream pie and need a fully baked pie crust, bake until the bottom crust is golden brown, about 14-15 minutes longer. If you need a partially baked pie crust (like if you're baking the pie crust once it is filled like a quiche or pumpkin pie) bake until the bottom crust is just beginning to brown, about 7-8 minutes.
  10. If you're making a no-bake pie, let the baked crust cool completely before adding the filling. For pies that will go back in the oven, like quiche or pumpkin pie, the crust can still be warm when you add the filling.

Make ahead tip: You can make pie dough and freeze it for up to 3 months. See my pie crust recipe for details. If you want to shape the pie dough ahead of time, see step 5 above.

Recipe Notes:

The pie crust will shrink if you don't chill it before blind baking. Chilling in the refrigerator (step 5) is the most important step!

Did you make a recipe?

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© Sally’s Baking Addiction. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe.

SHOP THE RECIPE

Here are some items I used to make today’s recipe.

Glass Pie Dish | Pie Weights | Pastry Blender | Rolling Pin | Pizza Cutter

Some of the links above are affiliate links, which pay me a small commission for my referral at no extra cost to you! Thank you for supporting Sally’s Baking Addiction.

36 Comments

Comments

  1. Annie on March 5, 2018 at 12:08 am

    Thank you so much for these tips! I once tried blind baking crust for a pie, but I forgot to put the parchment paper between the crust and the dry beans I was using, so that was a disaster. I can’t wait to try out your lemon meringue pie and (hopefully) blind bake correctly this time

    • Sally on March 5, 2018 at 6:50 am

      You’re not the only one!!

  2. Katy F on March 5, 2018 at 12:20 am

    For those fellow bakers with small kitchens, sugar is amazing! Everything I buy for my kitchen usually has to be multi-use (budget friendly is also a plus!) so I’m glad you linked to Stella Park’s technique, I swear by it (she is my pastry idol!!) The toasted sugar that results from baking is delicious!

    • Sally on March 5, 2018 at 6:49 am

      I’m eager to try it!

  3. Natalie on March 5, 2018 at 12:26 am

    What a great informative tutorial! Blind baking is something many of my readers are afraid of, so this tutorial is a great go-to link I’ll forward them to. Thank you!

    • Sally on March 5, 2018 at 6:49 am

      Thanks Natalie!

  4. Andrea @ Cooking with a Wallflower on March 5, 2018 at 12:51 am

    Thank you so much for this post, Sally! Now, I need to go buy some pie weights to blindbake my pie crusts.

    • Sally on March 5, 2018 at 4:27 pm

      Thanks Andrea!

  5. Wendy on March 5, 2018 at 6:15 am

    Ditto Sally!! I have made and absolutely loved your pumpkin pie but have always had problems with the pie crust shrinking. Frustrating!! I am armed with this technique and nothing can stop me now. Thank you so very much for everything you do!!!

    • Sally on March 5, 2018 at 4:28 pm

      Thank you so much, Wendy! I hope you feel empowered to blind bake your next pie crust 🙂 Happy baking!

  6. Patty Jensen on March 5, 2018 at 10:13 am

    Sally, this is a life changing video!! I’ve always avoided any pie that needed to be blind baked, as my sides always fell down. Like Humpty Dumpty and the King’s Men, I never had any idea of how to fix my pie crust. You have changed this! I now have the courage to try again. And just in time for Spring and an Easter Lemon Meringue Pie. Thanks!

    • Sally on March 5, 2018 at 3:32 pm

      Patty, I’m so happy you found this helpful!! Let me know how it works when you try it!!

  7. Julie on March 5, 2018 at 10:29 am

    Thanks for the tips, this is very helpful. I have only used rice or beans as “pie weights” but I think it may be worth it to invest in proper pie weights. Thanks again!

    • Sally on March 5, 2018 at 4:29 pm

      Oh I’m so glad you found it helpful! Happy baking 🙂

  8. Cheryl on March 5, 2018 at 11:04 am

    I learned to add dough strips by dipping my fingers in water to insure the two layers didn’t separate. Works also if you have a tear in your crust when you place it in the pie pan. 

    • Sally on March 5, 2018 at 6:15 pm

      That’s a great tip!

  9. Linda on March 5, 2018 at 11:59 am

    Not a fan of pie crusts. Just like what goes inside but will make one but not often. Thanks for all the tips in case I do make a pie crust.

    • Sally on March 5, 2018 at 4:29 pm

      You are welcome! 🙂

  10. Brenda on March 5, 2018 at 12:10 pm

    I tried to blind bake using rice as my pie weight one time since I didn’t have dried beans. Might have worked better if I’d thought to use parchment paper with it! 🙂 #piecrustfail

    • Sally on March 5, 2018 at 3:06 pm

      You’re not alone! The first time I used pie weights, I forgot the parchment. Hahaha what a mess.

  11. Celine on March 5, 2018 at 12:32 pm

    Does adding extra dough to the edge result in a tougher, but decorative, rim?

    • Sally on March 5, 2018 at 3:05 pm

      Not really! I find it’s still plenty flaky.

  12. Chandra on March 5, 2018 at 1:32 pm

    Hi Sally! Just wanted to say that I’m loving these videos you’re doing along with your posts! So helpful!! 🙂

    • Sally on March 5, 2018 at 3:05 pm

      I’m so glad they’re helpful. I hope to continue to shoot more!

  13. Carol C on March 5, 2018 at 6:32 pm

    What a great technique! I look forward to a quiche for Easter brunch using your blind baking idea! Also I always want my mother’s sweet potato pie recipe to be browned on the bottom and the crust always shrinks when I bake it. I can’t wait to perfect an already perfect pie recipe of Mom’s.

  14. linda gitschlag on March 5, 2018 at 8:40 pm

    Hi, Sally. Thank you for the blind bake video. In all the times I made pie I never thought to roll the crust onto the rolling pin! Will have to try the weights.

    • Sally on March 7, 2018 at 12:24 pm

      It’s definitely the easiest way to transfer a large piece of dough! 🙂 Happy baking!

  15. Debbie Shaw on March 6, 2018 at 2:24 am

    I’m not seeing the recipe for the lemon merinque pie…is it posted somewhere else?

  16. Anna on March 6, 2018 at 2:14 pm

    When you poke the little holes in the bottom of the pie crust during the second part of the blind bake, do you ever find that you have problems later with the filling seeping out of the crust a little and sticking to the pie dish? Or is that not usually a problem with the kinds of pies that require blind baking?

    • Sally on March 6, 2018 at 2:50 pm

      Hi Anna! That happens sometimes, but not as often as you’d think. Mostly because the types of pies used with blind baked pie crusts aren’t baked. So there’s not really any sticking.

  17. Kim on March 7, 2018 at 10:22 am

    Sally! I love your new tip about the dough strips!! I have always been frustrated with falling sides during a blind bake. —and the “crinkle the parchment” little tip?…brilliant! Thank you for researching your recipes so well (along with thorough, clear instructions and videos!) that we bakers are confident of a beautiful, tasty, *successful bake! Can’t wait to try this pie and keeping your blind bake techniques in my baking toolbox! ♥️

    • Sally on March 7, 2018 at 12:41 pm

      Hi Kim, I’m so happy that you found this helpful!! I definitely worked on it a long time before it was ready to share 🙂 Let me know when you try it!

  18. Kayle (The Cooking Actress) on March 7, 2018 at 11:26 am

    omigosh these tips are sooo helpful! Hopefully next time I blind bake a crust it goes better now lol

  19. Veronica on July 17, 2018 at 1:24 pm

    Are you using the bottom or middle oven rack to bake the crust ?

    • Sally on July 17, 2018 at 2:25 pm

      The middle!

Reviews

Questions

  1. Veronica on July 17, 2018 at 1:24 pm

    Are you using the bottom or middle oven rack to bake the crust ?

    • Sally on July 17, 2018 at 2:25 pm

      The middle!

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